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Food Offered to Idols

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Upon his arrival in Babylon, Daniel was confronted with a predicament. If he consumed the food and drink of the king, it would impinge on his ritual impurity. While he might have wished to avoid eating “unclean” meats, more likely, his concern was that consuming the “ king’s delicacies ” meant participation in the idolatrous rituals of the Babylonian court and pagan religion.

Thyatira and Jezebel

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In the letter to the “ messenger ” in Thyatira, a structural change occurs. In the first three letters, the call to heed the Spirit’s voice preceded the promises to overcomers. From this point forward, it follows the promises and concludes each letter. This serves to emphasize the need to “ hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches ” through the seven letters sent by the risen Son of Man.

Inhabitants of the Earth

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The inhabitants of the earth represent the men and women who are omitted from the Book of Life because they submit to the Beast . This group is unrelenting in its hostility to the “ Lamb ” and those who follow him “ wherever he goes ,” even rejoicing in the violent deaths of his “ Two Witnesses .” Unlike the “ nations ” and the “ kings of the earth ,” they are beyond redemption, and their names are excluded from the “ Book of Life. ”

Martyrs and Overcomers

Two themes that are repeated in Revelation are closely related - “ witness ” and “ overcoming .” Beginning with Jesus of Nazareth and his own martyrdom on Calvary, his followers are summoned to persevere in his “ testimony ,” and in this way, they “ overcome ” and they will emerge victorious in the city of “ New Jerusalem .” They must “ overcome, even as I overcame .”

Hold Fast My Name - Pergamos

Pergamos receives praise for remaining faithful to his name, but correction for tolerating the teachings of Balaam . The city lay  some sixty kilometers to the north of Smyrna and twenty kilometers from the sea. Though not a major commercial center, on occasion, it served as the seat of the Roman provincial government and the center for the imperial cult. The first temple dedicated to Augustus Caesar in Asia was built at Pergamos, making it “ground zero” for the veneration of the emperor.